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Welcome to Holland
Emily Perl Kingsley|
From the final scene of the CBS TV Movie-of-the-Week Kids Like These, aired September 1987
Copyright © 1987 Emily Perl Kingsley
|Reprinted with the permission of the author|
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation tripto Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. Michelangelo's David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland??" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy going to and from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
The pain of that will never ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
Emily Perl Kingsley has been writing scripts for Sesame Street for thirty years. Much of her work on the show has focused on enhancing the understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. Emily is mother of Jason Kingsley (1974) and served as the dictation typist for Jason's and Mitchell Levitz's book Count Us In: Growing Up with Down Syndrome.